Sustainable mobility: definition and application

Sustainable mobility refers to the design, implementation and management of transport modes that are low or no environmental impact.

What is sustainable mobility?

Sustainable mobility refers to the design, implementation and management of transport modes that are low or non-polluting for the environment, in particular those that contribute less to greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable mobility is good practice for the environment, the economy and society.

Types of trips or vehicles concerned by sustainable mobility

Sustainable mobility is not just about one type of transport. The modes of transport concerned include :

  • Bicycles and other cycles, roller skates, scooters, skateboards... Or in other words, human powered vehicles;
  • Motorised or assisted transport that has a low impact on the environment (so-called "clean" vehicles);
  • Walking ;
  • Bicycles and bicycle-related vehicles (velomobiles, bicycle taxis or cargo bikes, gyropods);
  • Public transport and carpooling...

For long distances, there are renovated old solutions:

  • Steerable balloon mainly for heavy or bulky loads; 
  • Sailing boat or boat with solar panels;
  • Solar-powered aircraft or vehicles, an area still under research.

What is intermodality?

Intermodality is a concept for sustainable mobility, especially for medium and long distances. It consists of using several modes of transport during the same journey. It optimises transport facilities by promoting synergies and improves accessibility in space and time.

According to the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe), "Whenever possible, it is better to take the train than the car", for reasons of energy saving and air quality.

The challenges of sustainable mobility: all for a decarbonised mobility!

Environmental issues are increasingly present in our lives, whether it is global warming, CO2 emissions or all the international issues that need to be addressed to build the world of tomorrow. So what are the main challenges of sustainable mobility?

  • Reducing air pollution to improve people's health;
  • Revolutionising the way urban transport is provided;
  • Facilitate individual and collective daily travel by developing a complete range of mobility services;
  • Reduce vehicle use;
  • Optimising urban logistics circuits.

The bicycle: the most favoured means of transport for sustainable mobility in the city

With the health crisis, cycling has become a must for everyday mobility in just a few months,as confirmed by a national study by Worklife.

The bicycle is a means of transport that offers 4 major advantages: it saves energy, is not dangerous, takes up little space and is good for your health as an alternative to sport!

Bicycles are eligible for the Sustainable Mobility Package. The Worklife card is a solution that facilitates the implementation of the Sustainable Mobility Package and enables the financing of all public transport and all sustainable mobility actors in the territory (cycling, carpooling, etc.).

=> All about the Sustainable Mobility Package

The benefits of a sustainable mobility policy in companies

For the company, sustainable mobility represents an investment and a strong commitment whose consequences can be very positive. The economic, social and environmental opportunities are numerous and one should not hesitate to implement a mobility plan in the company's CSR policy.

The benefits are many and often include :

  • Economically: reduction of costs related to employee travel by optimising transport, especially for the structure of companies that have a mainly commercial activity.
  • Socially: by optimising employees' commute, ensuring less stress, time optimisation and better comfort. 
  • On the environmental level: by limiting what harms the quality of life (noise, pollution, etc.)

What are the actions to be implemented for a sustainable mobility policy in companies?

As mentioned above, a good analysis of the situation and a structured plan for sustainable mobility are needed. It is possible to : 

  • Encourage carpooling and carsharing: create a space on the company's internal communication tools dedicated to carpooling and carsharing services.
  • Promote telework, if applicable, for one or two days per week. During the Covid-19 crisis, teleworking proved to be more productive for many people and, above all, a better work/life balance by saving commuting time.
  • Facilitate access to soft modes of transport such as cycling and scootering.  
  • Encourage the use of shared transport. If a large number of employees make the same journey (in whole or in part), the creation of a company shuttle can be an action solution that fits in with the sustainable mobility policy.

Finally, raising employees' awareness of the need to rethink the way they travel remains one of the priorities if a sustainable mobility policy is to be successful within the company.

Sustainable mobility is a future vision that will project its enormous benefits over the long term.

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